Friday, July 20, 2018

Really, we only went out to buy some jalapenos

Ah yet another adventurous day when a quick trip (about a 30 minute walk) into town to buy some jalapenos, somehow ended up lasting about 2 hours or more and we certainly did more than buy jalapenos.

Our first stop was just a few blocks from home where we had to stop into UOU Furniture (and more) store to see what they had in new and to look for mattress protectors for our friend's home.  They have so many beautiful things in there (though the mattress protectors were cheap in price and quality) that we couldn't resist sharing these photos with you and there are so many things that I wanted to buy for us and for our friends .. but we resisted .. somehow.

These beautiful pictures (yes they are covered in stretch plastic right now) are each only 350 pesos and I know the perfect place for each one of them

They have a huge selection of this beautiful glassware ranging from those beautiful tall vases at 300 pesos each to the gorgeous glassware seen on this fabulous tables and more .. lots more.

It took us a while to get out of there and we know that we will be back in a few weeks to see what new things they have added again .. it is always just such an adventure browsing in there and always a huge feat of strength to resist buying a load of beautiful artwork and furniture pieces - somehow we are still managing to pretty much maintain our attitude of 'we can only own it if it fits in the back of the Prius' .. except for our lovely double recliner love-seat that we treated ourselves to a few months after moving into our apartment.

Finally we got out of there and carried on walking alongside the carretera headed for the village when suddenly the strap on my 'had them since years before we left San Antonio' Sketchers sandals finally broke .. but wait ... we are less than a block away from that wonderfully cheap shoe shop that sells good shoes .. so we backtracked a little way and I bought a lovely pair of very comfortable leather sandals for the outrageous (tongue in cheek) price of 180 pesos .. yes that really is only $9.45 US according to today's exchange rate. No wonder I am now the proud owner of THREE pairs of sandals for probably the first time in my life!

By this time we were little more than half way to our favorite fruit and vegetable shop but I continued the walk in comfort and style.  At the vegetable shop I saw a fresh batch of pork crackling .. it was lunch time and I had not had breakfast and this fits my Keto lifestyle .. a lovely piece of fresh crispy crackling cost me 7 pesos.  We also bought mushrooms, some amazing fresh mint that had just came in the door and smelled so amazing and a beautiful bunch of fresh asparagus .. for these we paid 70 pesos.
The Poblano peppers and jalapenos we had to get from another little veggie shop because they didn't have any fresh ones in our usual store .. they cost us 10 pesos.  Sorry no photo of the crackling because I was too hungry and was busy eating that while walking to the second veggie store he he

Finally we had what we went to town for .. but wait .. if we were lucky we would still be able to get fresh baked cinnamon rolls from the little back alley bakery that we love.  So off we trotted to Panaderia Rojas where we bought the last five bolillos and eight huge cinnamon rolls for 76 pesos.

That was it for today and we headed home as quickly as we could, instead of lingering in town for coffee because Gerald was in a hurry to eat cinnamon rolls - so he promised to make me coffee at home so that he could have coffee and cinnamon rolls.  He also very gallantly spread the love by giving a couple to our landlord (who lives upstairs) and to our gardener/handyman (who lives downstairs).

We found out from the second vegetable shop that the good fresh bigger jalapenos will be in tomorrow but we needed to buy them today to prepare for a gathering that we are having at our place tomorrow.  If you think those jalapenos in the photo look good, you should see what we could have got tomorrow !

Stay tuned for the next adventure :)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ajijic: Local Police - Adventure for the day

We started today by walking into town ready to watch the England soccer game at 9 but nowhere was showing it - what was I thinking?  Why would Mexico TV be showing the game between England and Sweden??  So we ended up at La Casa del Cafe having coffee and breakfast with friends.

On the way home we decided to stop into the empty house of our friends that we are desperately waiting to get here from Cyprus - whatever told us to stop there, we are not sure but it was a good job that we did because Gerald went to the bathroom and noticed broken glass on the floor of the shower - the house had been broken into.  What a horrible sinking feeling!  We looked all around the house and there was nothing taken, no mess, nothing.  We found that the outside gate/door next to the carport doors had been forced open, someone had tried to break the kitchen window with a stone (unsuccessfully), tried to force open the living room patio doors but the additional locks prevented that.  The only way to get access was by pulling the locking peg out of the window frame once the window was broken and then sliding open the window.

Once we had everything figured out, I called the police and they were there in less than 15 minutes.  I cannot praise them enough because they were so nice and friendly and helpful (in spite of my less than perfect Spanish).  When I asked about how best to secure the gate that had been broken into, they advised me about the best type of lock and even called a locksmith for me and arranged for him to be there between 1 and 1:30 today.  They also took our contact information so that they could file a report for us - we did not have to go anywhere and go through the performance of reporting the incident ourselves.  The locksmith arrived exactly at 1 and did a great job of putting a very secure lock on the outside gate and refitting the damaged lock on the patio door, all for the price of only 700 pesos.  All in all we are very impressed with the help we received.  All that remains for us to do now is to get the glass replaced in the little window.  Go figure, a storm has just broken so Gerald is now busy sealing off the window until we can get the vidredia to come out and replace the glass for us.

I went to talk to the Mexican neighbors and found out that they heard the alarm going off around 1 or 2 this morning but they thought it was another neighbor whose alarm goes off every now and again.  They have very kindly said that if they hear it go off again they will immediately call the police and then call us.  This whole incident reaffirms the joy of living here amongst such friendly helpful people - the property is outside of town in a Mexican neighborhood and we now have a excellent relationship with the neighbors which we know will (along with the new lock) prevent any more issues.  We also have some people to house sit for us for a while and are pretty sure that our buddies Sharon and Mark will be here very soon and there will be no more problems.

Fortunately there is nothing worth stealing in the house at the moment which explains why nothing was damaged or stolen - still it is not a fun thing to go through.  Those of you who know me well, know that I firmly believe that every bothersome even has a silver lining, is for a good reason.  In this case we are confident that the house is secure and safe - once Sharon, Mark and their dogs get here .. watch out ha ha

We were also very lucky in that our friends Patti and Lars came running out to support and comfort us and then to take us home - we are so fortunate to have such good and supportive friends.  This is all part of why we love and appreciate living in Mexico.

For anyone who has anything bad to say about our local police, our experience is totally the opposite - so quick, so friendly and so understanding and compassionate.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Ajijic Life: Today we went to see a doctor and other adventures

After yet another night of only 3 hours sleep, I decided that it is time to see a doctor and get some help .. I am exhausted and don't want life to stop being fun.

After Spanish class we started walking to town - on the way we came across Daniel from 'The Hot Dog Shop' which we all know on Ocampo # 3.  Today was the first day that they have (semi) opened further down Ocampo near to where we live.  There are several business moving out in this direction or expanding out to this direction and we asked Daniel if it has anything to do with the rent being cheaper further out west - he agreed that he is paying a little more but getting more space for his money out west and that more people are also moving out in this direction.  Although he is still setting up the new place and intends it to be more like the existing place in town, it is already looking good and I think that it will be very successful, especially since he will be opening from 11 to 11 each day and in this Mexican neighborhood supper is usually eaten late in the evening around 9 or 10.

Onwards into town, we stopped at our favorite coffee shop on Colon for coffee in La Casa del Cafe - a second cup of coffee is definitely OK when you haven't been sleeping he he

On the way, we came across one of the local fish sellers who was doing good business today but stopped for a friendly photograph - yup tilapia from the lake are sold fresh from the wheelbarrow every day in Ajijic.

Finally we walked on to our destination - the rooms of Dra. Jessica Flores whom we met when she made a house call to a friend of ours while we were visiting with them.  Yes, in Mexico they still make house calls and the fee is the same nominal charge as it is at the doctor's rooms.  We paid only 300 pesos for our consultation today and Dra. Jessica took a very thorough history of my sleeping disorder, realizing that I am very resistant to sleep medication so probed further in order to be able to find a sleep medication that she felt was a good starting point in order to find out what is going to work for me.  I also had her look at a nail fungus issue that has been unresolved during the last several years.  Although we had not made an appointment, she patiently spent more than half an hour discussing matters with us and sent me off with a prescription for what she thinks is going to be a good sleep medication to start with, knowing that we may need to add something else to tweak the effects if one tablet a night does not work for me.

Off to Farmacia Cristina (probably the best generic pharmacy in town) where I filled my prescriptions at 643 pesos for a 2 month supply of the sleeping pills (Tasedan) and 314 pesos for the 2 boxes of anti-fungal medication - a grand total of 958 for a two month supply of both medications.  Remember the doctor visit and the medications are all charges without any insurance at all and we are talking about $15.50 USD for the doctor and $49.80 USD for the medications ..

Since it was well after lunch time by the time we finished with the doctor and the pharmacy, we decided to stop for lunch at Chopsticks which we finally caught open (they only open from 11 to 4 each day and every time we pass by there, it is outside of those hours).  Today's special was beef and shrimp won-ton soup and we had a bowl each (80 pesos each) - it was really superb and made my hungry belly feel a whole lot happier.
They have changed the way that they used to offer Dim Sum (wow, 2 minutes from notification that they were offering Dim Sum and they were sold out).  Now they are offering Dim Sum every week on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:00; 2:30 and 3:00  Reservations are still essential and already the whole of July is booked - it really is that popular.  For $250 you get the following:
Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)
Port Dumplings (Sui Mai)
Fried Spring Rolls
Chicken & Mushroom Dumplings
Scallion Rice Rolls
Sweet & Spicy Chicken Balls
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

We saw them making an order of 'fresh' (as opposed to fried) spring rolls and even though we have been making our own lately, we decided to order some of theirs (which really looked so very good) for a light supper this evening.  We wanted to order 4 but the serving size they make is 3.  While Gerald came to discuss with me whether or not we really only need one order of 3, Quy came over to our table and said that he will happily make an order of 4 for us and charge us accordingly (67 pesos for the 4).  Yet another good experience that we will repeat again one day.

The day is not yet over, like so many of our days there is always more fun to have and my brain was telling me that dieting just cannot be the order of this particular day and I need to have some desert that is not remotely 'healthy' - we started on an adventure to find a small/individual chocolate cake or something similar but I just couldn't find what I wanted without it being too big (tomorrow is a different day and leftover chocolate cake would not be a good thing in my life).  That is when we happened to walk past Donas Donuts - problem solved.  Tonight we are going to enjoy healthy fresh spring rolls followed by unhealthy (poco saludable) desert .. I am going to enjoy every morsel.

We also stopped in at a new, modern grocery store to get some cocoa powder and finally bumped into Rafael who is a very good Mexican friend of ours that has done excellent construction work for us - a quick hug and chat and finally we got back home at around 4:30.  Another day of fun and adventure in paradise - we are so blessed and happy to be here living such a free and relaxed lifestyle where we are free of so many of the political, legal and cultural bonds that used to limit us in USA

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Update on our life in Ajijic

I am really falling down updating everyone on our goings on recently but, truth be told, I sometimes wonder how on earth we used to find time to work - let alone work 10 or more hours a day.  It never used to seem possible that we would have a life outside of work but we are really making up for it now.

On Monday 11th June, straight after our Spanish class, we headed out to Mazamitla to spend a couple of days celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary.  The weather has been a bit weird this year so far because the usual rains of the rainy season which are usually considerate enough to only fall during the night, have been falling mostly during the day - very unusual and not good for my general demeanor.

As we headed up into the mountains the rain got heavier but not our spirits.  We love the little town of Mazamitla, it is somewhat touristy but very traditional Mexican at the same time - definitely not an ex-pat stronghold like Ajijic.  We stayed at a wonderful little bed and breakfast (their definition, not mine) called Hotel Cascada Real, that was really a group of little cabins and hotel rooms spread around the outside of a lovely orchard filled with orange, lemon, lime, mango, avocado, apple and several other types of trees.  The walkway to our cabin was lined with lavender plants and smelt heavenly and the cabin itself was really cute and cozy with a wood fireplace which we put to good use because it was cold and wet up there!

We did not have a kitchen, just a little place to make coffee or tea but we had some lovely meals in town in the evenings.

The first day we ate at Restaurante Troje de Mazami, a favorite eating place each time that we visit Mazamitla.

On Tuesday after breakfast in town (yes this bed and breakfast gives a breakfast coupon for a little restaurant in town) we drove out to the the waterfall (La Cascada El Salto) which is in a beautiful fraccionamento called Los Cazos.  We were able to drive quite close to the waterfall by paying the guard at the entrance to the fraccionamento 50 pesos.  The walk down to the waterfall and back up again was actually quite enough for us on that particular day.

We took time to drive around the beautiful fraccionamento enjoying the amazing houses and gardens snuggled in among the trees.

Our anniversary meal on a particularly cool evening was at Restaurant El Charco where we were greeted with dishes of fresh mango, salsa, chips and little cups of hot and spicy fish soup.

I opted for Shrimp wrapped in bacon and 'bathed in cheese' and was not disappointed.

Gerald went for a steak which he also thoroughly enjoyed.

On the way home, I made a quick stop at one of the little arborretes on a back street somewhere and picked up a little bottle of rompope (a Mexican drink along the lines of egg nogg, yes the one with alcohol in it he he) for which I payed only 26 pesos and it was good - just a little something to warm us in front of the fire when we went back to the cabin.

This past week has been another one of those very busy social calendar weeks that is so typical of our life here.  On Saturday we walked into town as is our custom while Lupita is cleaning for us - we split a nice burrito at La Casa del Cafe:

Then we checked out hotel Danza del Sol on the way home in preparation for Christmas when Angela, Eric and the kids are going to be staying there.

On Sunday 17th Robert came over and we barbecued Italian sausages and had fun playing a game of Mexican Train on the patio:

The next day we went our for supper with Ralph to Alex's Pasta, where I had the most amazing meal of Distufa di Manzo (Italian beef stew) and Gerald enjoyed a lovely shrimp dish.  Since I am busy trying to watch my intake of carbs, the stewed seemed like a good, non pasta option, though I did enjoy the gnocchi that were in it.

On Thursday we went to the Smoke House with Suzanne and Kelly for their 'all you can eat ribs' and 2 for 1 margaritas.. wow it looks as though all we have been doing recently is eating .. and eating out at restaurants at that.  We do normally cook and eat at home mostly but the way of life here just goes like that, some weeks life just seems to be one hectic social whirl of eating, drinking and playing with all of our friends.

On Saturday we walked into town, had coffee and waited for our favorite back street bakery (Panaderia Roja) to finish baking cinnamon rolls - we needed some for the brunch that we were hosting the next day but I think that Gerald just really needed a cinnamon roll fix because he had one eaten before we got home and of course we bought a few more than we needed for the brunch - memories of having to buy two loaves of french bread back in USA because at least a half of the loaf got eaten on the way home ha ha
Yes this is the oven than the cinnamon rolls are baked in

Sunday was a lot of fun, we ate brunch out on our beautiful patio and then moved indoors to the dining room where the six of us played Mexican train and the next thing that you know, we had spent nearly 6 hours over this brunch get together .. time really does fly when you are having fun with friends.

Tuesday is market day - this one is the organic market just down the hill from us.  I usually pick up a couple of things here but prefer the cheaper and more local Monday and Friday markets in Chapala and Jocotopec respectively.

Wednesday was quite a full day because we braved the downpour on Wednesday morning to go into town to watch the soccer game in the sports bar above the Jardin Plaza restaurant - there was a great atmosphere and it helped having some locals there because we got the low down on the Germany game as well even though it was not on TV at that time - Mexico still have a chance in spite of the lack of playing skills, just because Germany are out at this point ha ha  Of course we had breakfast there while watching the game.

This plate of 2 breakfast burritos cost only 49 pesos and it was good, the green juice was only 22 pesos
That evening and .. yes .. wait for it .. we were out eating yet agin.

This time, Manix were having their special pig roast event - we have never eaten at Manix yet and now we are wondering why on earth not.  The meal was absolutely amazing (at only 250 pesos each).  A roast suckling pig with crackling like I remember it from my childhood days, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, a broccoli/cauliflower mix, corn souffle and gravy followed by mango mousse .. all very yummy.  The music was outstanding and Gerald and I actually danced away some time .. we were with a very interesting group of 14 other people and I managed to get most everyone to change chairs part way through the evening so that we could all get to chat with everyone instead of just those within immediate earshot .. an excellent evening all round.
Hector attacking the pig


I even bumped into Robert our realtor
On Thursday Michael came over to watch the soccer game with us and then on Friday we had Suzanne and Kelly round for snacks, drinks and a game of Mexican train.

Which brings us back to another Saturday and another walk into town for coffee and a chat with Rob at the Dildoria - lots of good information from Rob about all the goings on at the hotel that he is a partner on.  They have an amazing social gathering on Friday evenings and yesterday they had to close the doors because there were already 80 people gathered there.  They are also organizing trips to Tequila (only 780 pesos) and they are also doing Indian cooking classes for only 400 pesos - yes so much still to explore, discover and enjoy so stay tuned y'all.